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Responding Respectfully

Is this a respectful response?

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Suggested Activities

This challenge helps students recognize respectful responses to scenarios they may commonly encounter, including those involving people from different cultural and linguistic groups. Identify from stories or classroom incidents a number of common situations that present students with a dilemma and a range of possible responses. For instance, ask students to imagine that a friend has invited them to share food that they have never tried before. Generate a list of possible responses, which may include the following:

  • Refuse to taste it
  • Leave for home immediately
  • Taste it and then make a face
  • Taste it to see if you like it
  • Taste it and thank your friend saying it is not to your liking
  • Excuse yourself with thanks without tasting
  • Be polite and honest about how you feel.

Ask students to consider what would be a respectful way to respond to this situation. As a class, develop criteria for respectful behaviour (e.g., does not make fun of someone, includes others, everyone feels that they belong) and for responses that are not respectful. List the kinds of actions that would fall with each category. You may find it helpful to adapt the detailed suggestions found in Learning to Be a Friend (Modelling the Tools) to teach and assess the tools for recognizing a respectful response. Using the agreed-upon criteria, ask students to sort the possible responses to the scenario into respectful and not respectful actions. You may need to create a third category for "somewhat respectful responses." Ask the class to consider whether any of the respectful response are better than the others (because they have more of the qualities of a respectful response). Invite students to draw a picture of their choice of the most appropriate response to the scenario. You may want to adapt the charts and strategies for Considering Options (Support Material) and Justifying My Choice (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.

Throughout the year, revisit this challenge by posing new scenarios for students to consider. Trade books offer abundant opportunities to engage students in thinking about respectful responses to realistic situations. In addition, take advantage of actual classroom situations to reinforce thoughtful deliberation about responses to new or difficult situations.

Last updated: July 1, 2014 | (Revision History)
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